Thursday, December 21, 2017

Caramel Pecan Shortbread Bars


'Tis the season to indulge in holiday sweets.  Today I pulled out a recipe which was sent to me by my sister-in-law during the Christmas season many years ago, and has always been a hit!  How can you go wrong?  They are rather like having homemade turtles on a shortbread base.

Crust:
  • 1/2 cup icing sugar (confectioner's sugar)
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 tablespoon whipping cream
  • 1 cup flour
Filling:
  • 30 vanilla caramels, wrappers removed  (1 small package Kraft caramels 269 gr) 
  • 1/3 cup whipping cream
  • 2 cups pecan halves

Topping:
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips (either milk chocolate or semi-sweet)
  • 1 teaspoon butter
  • 2 tablespoons whipping cream
  • sea salt (optional)
  1. Heat oven to 325 F.
  2. Prepare 9-inch square pan by lining with parchment paper. (Form a sling with the parchment to allow for easy removal of the bars later, by having paper overhang the pan on two sides.)
  3. For shortbread base, combine sugar, butter and cream.  Beat until well blended. Gradually add flour until incorporated. Press evenly into bottom of prepared pan. Bake 15-20 minutes or until firm to touch.
  4. In a glass bowl, add caramels and whipping cream and heat for 1 minute in the microwave oven. Remove and stir. Return to microwave oven for 30 seconds at 50% power. Repeat process until caramel and cream mixture is completely smooth. Pour in pecans and stir to coat. Spoon on top of shortbread and spread evenly.
  5. Combine chocolate chips, butter and cream in small bowl and heat in microwave on medium-high for 1 minute. Repeat heating at 15 second intervals, stirring in between, until the chocolate is completely melted and smooth. Drizzle over bars.
  6. While cooling, sprinkle with coarse sea salt (optional). 
  7. Refrigerate for 1 hour.
  8. Remove from pan to cutting board and slice into bars.
  Yield: 24 bars


Is it not special to have handwritten recipes on the original cards from decades ago? Wishing you all wonderful memories and moments as you prepare for Christmas this year.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Roasted Brrussles Sprouts and Cranberries


Brussels sprouts, cranberries and pecans combine to make a tasty and colourful side-dish for the holiday feast. Add a drizzle of balsamic reduction to kick it up a notch. 

  • 1 1/2 pounds brussels sprouts
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • sea salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup toasted pecan halves
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic reduction to drizzle over, optional *
  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Prepare rimmed baking sheet by lining with parchment paper.
  3. Toast pecan halves in a dry skillet over medium heat until golden; set aside.
  4. Trim brussels sprouts and cut in half. 
  5. In a medium bowl, toss brussels sprouts with olive oil.
  6. Spread on prepared baking sheet and season with salt and pepper.
  7. Roast for 20-30 minutes (until tender inside), stirring about halfway through cooking.
  8. Transfer roasted brussels sprouts to serving platter; sprinkle with cranberries and pecan halves.
  9. Drizzle with balsamic reduction.
  10. Serve immediately
*Use bottled balsamic reduction or make your own. In a small saucepan, combine 1 cup balsamic vinegar with 1/2 cup sugar and bring to a boil, while stirring. Reduce heat; then simmer for 15 to 20 minutes or until quite thick, stirring occasionally.

Serves six.

 

 

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Make Ahead Christmas Casserole



We may be familiar with shepherd's pie made from Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner leftovers.  But this is a bit of a different spin on the classic favorite...a casserole that includes stuffing, turkey, gravy and mashed potatoes and is prepared in advance to makes it easy to serve a turkey dinner to the masses.  I got the recipe from a friend who has prepared this dish to serve a crowd of over 100 at a community Christmas dinner for several years.  I served it for a family Christmas dinner for 40 people that I hosted at another location last year, doing four times the recipe shown below.  It is easy to transport and reheat and with all the prep done in advance, it frees up time and kitchen space on the day of the event. We served this casserole buffet-style, along with cranberry sauce, several cooked veggies, a green salad and dinner rolls. It was enjoyed by all and I will be making it again.


  • 2 boxes stuffing mix (or homemade stuffing from 5 cups bread cubes)
  • 1 Tablespoon poultry seasoning 
  • 5 cups cooked turkey, cut into bite-sized pieces*
  • 2 cans condensed cream of chicken soup, undiluted
  • 1/2 cup roasted turkey drippings
  • 6 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks (or 5 1/2 cups mashed potatoes)
  • 3/4 cup sour cream, divided
  • 4 oz softened cream cheese (herb and garlic flavour)
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  1. Mix stuffing mix as per box directions, but with an additional 1 tablespoon poultry seasoning added to liquids. Spread in greased 9x13 pan.
  2. In a large bowl, combine turkey, chicken soup, drippings and 1/4 cup sour cream.  Spoon over stuffing mixture.
  3. Boil potatoes in a Dutch oven or large pot until tender. Drain potatoes. Mash in a large bowl, beating in the cream cheese, pepper, salt and remaining sour cream. (Add 1/4 cup milk if the mixture seems too thick.) Spread over turkey mixture. 
  4. Sprinkle with cheese. 
  5.  Bake uncovered at 350°F for about 45 minutes (or until thermometer inserted in center reaches 160°).  
Serves: 8-10

 *Turkey can be cooked and carved well in advance. Be sure to save drippings for the sauce.



Monday, November 27, 2017

Fruit and Nut Yeast Bread


A local bakery makes a wonderful fruit and nut yeast loaf, and this is my 'copykat' version. I adapted Anneliese's French bread recipe, adding dried cranberries, apricots, raisins, and walnuts. It turned out great.

  • 4 1/2 - 5 cups flour, all-purpose  (or substitute with part whole-wheat flour)
  • 2 tablespoons instant yeast
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • 1/2 cup chopped dried apricots
  • 1 cup walnuts (or pecans), coarsely chopped
  • 1 egg + 2 teaspoons water, beaten
  1. Combine sugar, salt and water and oil in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Mix yeast with 1 cup of white flour and stir into liquids. 
  3. Continue adding flour, stirring at first then using your hands to incorporate the flour.
  4. Add fruit and nuts and work into the dough.
  5. Knead, adding a little more flour as necessary until dough is smooth and elastic.
  6. Cover.  Let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk. (About 45 minutes.)
  7. Punch dough down. Turn onto a lightly floured surface. divide in half.
  8. Shape each half into a 15" x 2-1/2" loaf with tapered ends. 
  9. Place on a greased or parchment lined cookie sheet. (One large cookie sheet can hold two loaves.)
  10. Cut diagonal slits on top of loaf.
  11. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 30-45 minutes.  
  12. Beat egg with water; brush over dough. 
  13. Bake at 375° F for 25 minutes or until golden brown. Remove loaves from pan to a wire rack to cool.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Pan-fried Pears in Caramel Sauce


We enjoy warm caramelized bananas so I decided to try cooking up pears using much the same method.  They were delicious served up this way. 'Tis the season for pears.  Enjoy!

Ingredients:
  • 3 pears, peeled and sliced
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • granola or nuts to sprinkle over (optional)
  • vanilla ice-cream

Directions:
  1. Melt butter in large skillet on medium heat. Saute pears for several minutes, turning over with tongs or lifter during the process.  Remove pears gently from pan once they are of desired doneness. 
  2. Add sugar to butter in pan and cook until melted, while stirring. Reduce heat to low. 
  3. Gradually stir in sour cream; cook 1 minute stirring occasionally.
  4. Add pear pieces to caramel sauce and cook just until pears are heated through.
  5. Spoon pears and caramel sauce into four dessert dishes.
  6. Top with a scoop of vanilla ice-cream. 
  7. Drizzle with additional sauce and sprinkle with granola or chopped nuts of your choice.
 

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Cabbage and Sausage Foil Pack Dinner


Foil packet dinners are easy to prepare and clean-up, and are not just for camping; they can be baked in the oven year-round.  Cabbage and sausage were meant to be paired, and here is a simple and tasty way to serve them up for dinner tonight.

  • 1/2 small head cabbage, cut into 3/4" or 1" wedges
  • 1 pound farmer sausage, sliced (or your favorite smoked sausage)
  • 20 nugget potatoes, cut in half 
  • 1 small onion, sliced
  • garlic butter
  • salt and pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. Prepare 4 pieces (12" x 18") of heavy-duty foil.
  3. Divide cabbage wedges, potatoes and sausage slices evenly on the four pieces of foil.
  4. Top each mound with a dollop of garlic butter and season with salt and pepper.
  5. Seal each packet well.
  6. Bake for 1 hour, or until veggies are tender. 
Serves 4



Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Pear Hazelnut Muffins


Hazelnuts and pears make 'the perfect pair'.  Combine them in these muffins and enjoy the taste of autumn!  I served them to the 'corn harvest crew' on the farm recently, and they disappeared in a hurry.

  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups flour (or use 3/4 cup all purpose flour and 3/4 cup whole wheat flour)
  • 3/4 cup rolled oats
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 2 large pears, peeled and diced 
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped toasted hazelnuts

  1. Cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs and vanilla.  
  2. Combine dry ingredients and add alternately with buttermilk, mixing just until incorporated. 
  3. Add diced pears and hazelnuts; fold into batter.
  4. Spoon into greased muffin tin.  
  5. Bake at 375°F for 20-25 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
  6. Cool for several minutes; then transfer to wire rack. 
Yield: 1 dozen muffins


Monday, September 18, 2017

Peaches and Cream Layer Cake


We have been enjoying fresh  peaches every-which-way for the past while, and soon peach season will be over for the year.  This peaches-and-cream birthday cake was a big hit at our place, so I'll share the recipe with you.  I used a boxed-cake mix with a few additions to make it 'extraordinary'.

Cake:
  • 1 white boxed cake mix (Better Crocker Super Moist)
  • 3/4 cup peach yogurt
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/3 cup melted butter 
  1. Line two 9-inch round pans with parchment paper.
  2. Place cake mix and all other ingredients in a mixing bowl.  Beat on medium speed until smooth.
  3. Spread batter evenly in prepared pans.
  4. Bake at 350°F for 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in centre comes out clean. 
  5. Cool for about 10 minutes before removing from pan.

Filling:
  • 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
  • 2/3 cup icing sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  •  2 cups heavy whipping cream

  1. Beat the cream cheese, icing sugar and vanilla until smooth. 
  2. Gradually add the cream, whipping until thick. (If you do not have a heavy-duty mixer, you may have to whip the cream separately and then fold into whipped cream cheese mixture.)
 Glaze for Peaches:
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons peach or orange jello  
  1. Combine water, sugar and cornstarch in a small bowl, using whisk to stir until smooth.
  2. Microwave on High until boiling and thickened, stirring once in between. 
  3. Stir in jello (adds colour and flavour) and cool to lukewarm before using. 
Assembling Cake:
  • 2 cake layers
  • cream filling
  • glaze
  • 3 large peaches

  1. Place one cake layer on cake plate.
  2. Peel and chop one peach. Fold into about 1 1/2 cups of the whipped topping. Spread over bottom cake layer.
  3. Place second cake on top.
  4. Spread with a generous layer of whipped topping, reserving some to pipe around edge.
  5. Peel and slice two peaches.  Coat peach slices with glaze and arrange on top of cake.
  6. Pipe whipped topping around the edge.



Friday, September 8, 2017

Harvest Corn Chowder


Let me bring back one of my favorite soups of the season, while the corn and zucchini are at their finest...a recipe posted here five years ago.  This hearty corn chowder may be just what you need on your menu this fall.
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1/2 pound smoked farmer sausage, chopped  (or four slices bacon, chopped and fried crisp)
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 3-4 cups fresh potatoes, cut into small chunks
  • 4 ears corn, kernels cut from the cob (or 4 cups frozen whole kernel corn)
  • 1 medium-sized zucchini, cut into chunks
  • 5 sprigs fresh thyme (or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme)
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 cups whole milk (or use half milk and half cream)
  • 1/3 cup chopped  flat-leaf parsley
  1. Heat oil in heavy soup pot over medium heat.  Add onion, pepper and pieces of smoked sausage.  Cook until onion and pepper are soft.
  2. Add chicken broth, potatoes, corn, zucchini and thyme.  Simmer until potatoes are tender.
  3. Combine flour, salt, black pepper and cayenne pepper.  Add 1/2 cup milk and whisk until smooth. Blend in remaining milk.
  4. Add milk mixture to soup pot.
  5. Cook while stirring until mixture thickens and comes to a boil.
  6. Add chopped parsley. Stir.
  7. Remove from heat and serve.

 

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

http://www.mennonitegirlscancook.ca/2017/08/grilled-chicken-and-peach-flatbread.html


A few months ago, I had lunch in a recommended tea room in Victoria and enjoyed a chicken and peach sandwich. Now that was something I wouldn't have thought to combine in a sandwich, but it was delicious!  We have been enjoying B.C. peaches 'every which way' lately, and I came up with a grilled chicken and peach flatbread sandwich which went over well!  

  • 2 naan bread
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • pesto (optional) 
  • 4 oz. mozzarella cheese, sliced or shredded 
  • 2 chicken breasts, seasoned and grilled
  • 1 peach, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1-2 tablespoons fresh basil, shredded
  • balsamic reduction, for drizzling
  1. Brush olive oil on one side of each naan bread, and arrange oiled side down on work surface.
  2. Spread one side of naan bread with pesto (if desired) and place mozzarella cheese on top.
  3. Slice chicken breasts and arrange pieces over the cheese.
  4. Lay peach slices over the chicken.
  5. Sprinkle with shredded basil.
  6. Drizzle balsamic reduction over the peaches.
  7. Top with second naan bread, oiled side out. 
  8. Carefully place on grill over medium-low heat. (Can also be done in a pan on the stove-top.)
  9. Grill about 3 minutes per side (flipping carefully), or until cheese has melted and bread is lightly browned.
  10. Remove from grill; cut through the center to serve.
Serves 2.

 

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Rainbow Pasta Salad



Simple and delicious.  Chock-full of crunchy veggies and a tangy dressing, this pasta salad is the perfect addition to a picnic or BBQ buffet table.  Use your favorite pasta or the kids' favorite...macaroni!  I did 'the recipe x five' for a BBQ for 60 a few weeks ago.
  • 8 oz. dry pasta
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup sour cream or Greek yogurt
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, or to taste 
  •  3 hard boiled eggs , peeled and chopped
  • 1 cup diced red bell pepper
  • 1 cup julienned carrots
  • 3/4 cup diced celery
  • 1/4 cup diced red onion
  • 1 tablespoons minced fresh parsley

  1. Cook pasta in salted water according to directions on package.  Drain and rinse with cold water; cool completely. (Add a little olive oil to pasta before cooling to prevent pieces from sticking together.)
  2. Stir together mayonnaise, sour cream, vinegar, mustard, honey, and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Add pasta to a large mixing bowl along with eggs, red pepper, carrots, celery and onion. Pour dressing over and toss mixture to evenly coat. Serve or store in refrigerator to serve within 24 hours.

    Serves 10-12.
 

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Corn on the Cob Supreme

Corn on the Cob Supreme



We have fresh Chilliwack corn available on every corner at this time of the year, and it is so good!  Over the years I have shared several different ways of preparing corn-on-the-cob...including 'cooler corn for a crowd' and microwaved corn-on-the-cob for one or two. Today I am posting a recipe for butter boiled corn...resulting in juicy, tender and sweet corn that is delicious!  As the cobs are lifted from the pot, the butter coats the kernels and there is no need to add more butter.
 
 Milk and Butter Boiled Corn-on-the-Cob
  • 6-8 ears corn, husks and silk removed
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup milk
  1. Add water to a large pot (about half-full or enough to cover cobs) and bring to a boil. 
  2. Add milk and butter. 
  3. Add corn and reduce heat.
  4. Simmer corn for about 6 minutes. 
  5. Remove cobs with tongs; season and serve. 
 * For 2-3 cobs, use a smaller pot and half the amount  of milk and butter. 



'Tis the season for corn.  Enjoy!

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Mango Slushy




This refreshing drink of fruit and ice is a great afternoon treat on a hot summer day.  While on vacation in Mexico awhile back, we enjoyed mango slushies in the shade of a palm tree on the beach every day.  On the beach or at home...this hits the spot!
  • 1 mango, peeled and sliced (or 1 cup frozen mango chunks)
  • 1/2 cup pineapple juice
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice (1/2 lime, juiced)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar or honey
  • 2 cups ice cubes
  1. Place all ingredients in blender and blend for 1 minute or until smooth
  2. Pour into glasses and serve.

Yield: 2 slushies


Feel free to use other fruits...like fresh berries or peaches.  Experiment with your favorites!


Monday, June 12, 2017

Mango Cucumber Salad


 The mangoes have been exceptionally sweet and juicy lately, and we have enjoyed this salad many times.  The dressing is not only great on salads but is also fantastic drizzled on grilled salmon or chicken. 

Salad:
  • 4 cups mixed salad greens 
  • 1 mango, peeled, seeded and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 or 2 mini cucumbers, sliced
  • 1/3 cup cashew pieces or sliced almonds, toasted
  • 1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese 
  1. In a salad bowl, combine greens, mango slices, red onion, cucumber and cashews or almonds.
  2. Pour dressing over salad and gently toss it all together.
  3. Serve.
*If plating the salads individually, place a few of the mango slices on top.

Serves 4.

Mango Citrus Vinaigrette:
  •  1 ripe mango
  • 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar 
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  1. Peel one mango, and remove pit. 
  2. Chop and  place in blender with remaining ingredients; puree until smooth. 
  3. Store in a small jar in refrigerator (for up to a week) and shake to blend before use.

Variation:
Line salad bowl or platter with mixed greens. Top with fresh fruits and berries of your choice, including cubed mango. Serve with mango citrus vinaigrette and candied walnuts or pecans as optional topping.


     

    Hurry Scurry Cake


    Today's recipe is a 'blast from the past', originating in an old cookbook of my mother's.  It was the cake of my childhood, and still my go-to white cake today. I was considering giving it a new name, but I decided to leave it with its amusing, archaic and somewhat catchy title. This very basic white cake is perfect for topping with ice-cream and fresh fruit in the summertime. Since the local strawberries are in their prime right now, I have been serving up strawberries on hurry scurry cake this past week. This basic cake batter is also great for making upside-down cake, and I will add that variation below.
    • 1/3 cup butter
    • 2/3 cup sugar
    • 1 egg
    • 1 1/2 cups flour
    • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 1/2 cup milk
    • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla
    1. Cream butter and sugar. 
    2. Add egg and beat.
    3. Combine dry ingredients; add alternately with milk and vanilla. Blend well.
    4. Turn into a greased 8 inch square pan and bake at 350° F for 25-30 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
    5. Cool. 
    6. Serve topped with a scoop of vanilla ice-cream and fresh fruit topping.
    Fresh Strawberry Topping:
    Wash and slice strawberries. Place about 1/4 of the strawberries into the blender, adding sugar to taste. Combine the sliced strawberries and the pureed strawberry mixture and spoon over the cake.

    Yield: 9 servings


    Rhubarb Upside-Down Cake
    • 2/3 cup packed brown sugar
    • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
    • 2-1/4 cups diced rhubarb
    • 1 recipe 'hurry scurry cake' batter

    1. Combine brown sugar and butter. Spread in a greased 9-in. round baking pan. Add the chopped rhubarb. Set aside.
    2. Prepare cake batter. Gently spoon over rhubarb. 
    3. Bake at 350° for about 50 minutes or until cake springs back when lightly touched. 
    4. Cool for 10 minutes before inverting onto a serving plate. 
    5. Serve warm with whipped cream or ice-cream if desired.  
    6. Yield: 10-12 servings.

    Tuesday, May 30, 2017

    One Pan Honey Balsamic Chicken Dinner


    What could be simpler than cooking the whole meal in one pan?  One parchment lined sheet pan (think easy clean-up!) serves up a delicious dinner of balsamic glazed chicken breasts along with roasted potatoes and green beans.

    • 4 chicken breasts
    • 4 medium potatoes, cut into bite-sized pieces
    • 2 cups fresh green beans, ends snipped *
    • 4 tablespoons olive oil
    • 2 tablespoons honey
    • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
    • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
    • 3 cloves garlic, minced 
    • salt and pepper to taste
    1. Preheat oven to 400° F.
    2. Line baking sheet with parchment paper or foil.
    3. In small bowl, whisk olive oil, honey, brown sugar, balsamic vinegar, garlic and seasoning.
    4. Place chicken breasts in bowl; add half of the olive oil mixture and toss to coat. 
    5. Layer potatoes on baking sheet; drizzle with remaining olive oil glaze. Place marinated chicken breasts on top.
    6. Bake in pre-heated oven for 20-25 minutes.
    7. Remove from oven, and add green beans, stirring to coat with glaze.  Cook for another 10 minutes, or until chicken breasts are cooked through (internal temperature 165 degrees) and potatoes are tender. 
    *These beans are on the crispy side. If you prefer your beans more tender, blanch them for several minutes before adding them to the pan.

    Serves 4.



    Thursday, May 18, 2017

    Lemon Fluff Cheesecake ~ Woolworth's Cheesecake


    Light and fluffy and full of lemony goodness, this is the perfect spring dessert.  It is actually a new twist on a very old recipe.  I'll share the recipe with you as we have enjoyed it recently and then I'll tell you the story of its origin...my first-love with cheesecake.

    • 1 (3 ounce) package lemon Jell-O
    • 1 cup boiling water
    • 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese
    • 1 cup sugar
    • 1/4 cup lemon juice
    • 1 can 12 oz / 354 ml evaporated milk, well chilled (Carnation)
    • 1 1/3 cups graham wafer crumbs
    • 1/4 cup butter, melted
    1. Combine cracker crumbs and cutter.  Press into bottom of a 9" x 13" pan. Refrigerate until needed.
    2. Dissolve Jell-O in boiling water. Cool until slightly thickened.
    3. Beat cream cheese, sugar and lemon juice with mixer until smooth and creamy. Add thickened Jello and beat well.
    4. In a separate bowl, beat the chilled evaporated milk until it is thick and forms soft peaks. Add cream cheese/Jell-O mixture and beat until combined.
    5. Spread filling over graham wafer crust.
    6. Chill overnight.
    7. Serve with fresh fruit of your choice.
     

    Now let me tell you about my introduction to this delightful dessert. Cheesecake was not something that appealed to me when I was a teenager. But after going to our local Woolworth's store with friends and trying the famous lemon dessert in their restaurant, that all changed. It was not your typical cheesecake, but a light and fluffy ice-box dessert. Hubby remembers me dragging him there to sample this dessert as well, and he decided he could learn to like cheesecakes too. Woolworth's stores across North America closed several decades ago and their cheesecake is all but forgotten.  I have a friend who once worked at the Woolworth's restaurant, and gave me a copy of their cheesecake recipe many years ago.  I was recently reminded of that recipe, and thought I would try it...for old times' sake! Woolworth's served it without fruit and sprinkled with additional wafer crumbs. Their famous cheesecake got a 'thumbs up' review from all those around our table. Do any of you have memories of having this dessert at Woolworth's back in the day?  It's throw-back Thursday.  Feel free to share your memories.

     

    Tuesday, May 9, 2017

    Citrus Tea Punch


    This may just be the perfect punch for your Mother's Day luncheon or tea this weekend.  It is made by adding citrus juices to steeped tea and is quite refreshing and delightful!
     
    Ingredients:

    • 6 individual tea bags (we prefer Earl Grey)
    • 6 cups boiling water
    • 1 cup sugar
    • 2 cups freshly squeezed orange juice
    • 1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
    • 3 cups Sprite (or other citrus flavoured  carbonated beverage)
    • Crushed or cubed ice
    • Orange and lemon slices

    Directions:

    1. Steep tea bags in boiling water for 15 minutes. Discard bags. 
    2. Stir sugar into tea until dissolved. Cool.
    3. Add orange juice and lemon juice; mix well. Refrigerate until chilled. 
    4. Add Sprite just before serving. 
    5. Serve over ice. Garnish with orange and lemon slices.
      Yield: 3 quarts. 
     
     

    Tuesday, March 28, 2017

    Salted Caramel Budino


    It was in spring a few years back, that eight of us gals from MGCC met up at the tulip fields of La Conner Washington. Once we were done trekking through the fields, we all went to Seeds Bistro for lunch. Though we had no intention of having dessert, the server talked us into sharing their specialty dessert that day...a salted caramel budino. One dessert.  Eight spoons.  We all had a taste.  I wrote down the name, one I had never heard of before.  Budino is the Italian word for custard or pudding.  Here is my attempt at replicating the 'sweet ending' we had in La Conner that day. 

    Cookie Crust:
    • 1 cup finely ground chocolate wafer cookie crumbs
    • 2 Tablespoons butter, melted
    • 1/8 teaspoon salt
    Mix crumbs, butter and salt in small bowl.  Reserve two tablespoons of mixture for garnish. Press remaining cookie mixture into the bottom of  six to eight small dessert cups or Mason jars.

    Budino:
    • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
    • 1/4 cup water
    • 2 Tablespoons maple syrup
    • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
    • 1 1/2 cups half-and-half or whole milk
    • 1 cup whipping cream
    • 1 large egg plus two egg yolks
    • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
    • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
    1. In large, heavy saucepan, combine brown sugar, water, maple syrup and salt and bring to a boil over medium heat.  Simmer for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until mixture thickens.  Remove from heat and whisk in the half-and-half and whipping cream. Stir until smooth.
    2. In separate bowl, whisk the eggs and cornstarch until smooth.  Add to the brown sugar mixture in a slow stream, whisking constantly. Return to medium heat and continue to whisk until mixture thickens and is the consistency of pudding (about three minutes). 
    3. Divide among six to eight prepared dessert dishes.  
    4. Cover and chill until ready to serve.
    5. Spoon one or two tablespoons of caramel sauce (recipe below) over each budino. Top with a dollop of whipped cream and sprinkle with reserved cookie crumbs.

    Caramel Sauce:
    • 1 cup packed brown sugar
    • 1/2 cup half-and-half cream
    • 4 tablespoons butter
    • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

    1. Combine brown sugar, half-and-half, butter and salt in a saucepan.
    2. Cook over medium-low heat for about 5 minutes, whisking gently...until mixture begins to thicken.
    3. Add vanilla and cook for another minute.
    4. Cool to room temperature. (It can be made in advance and refrigerated.  Bring to room temperature before using or heat in microwave at 5 second intervals. Add a wee bit of cream if it is too thick.)
    * Do not put the caramel sauce on until ready to serve, as it soaks into the custard.



    Saturday, March 18, 2017

    Icelandic Donuts ~ Kleinur

    I always enjoy sampling the traditional foods when visiting another country.  We were recently in Iceland and made sure we tried their Kleinur...a slightly sweet deep-fried bread which is rather like a twisted donut.  They are available in every bakery or coffee shop in the country.  I decided to give this Icelandic treat a taste-test in my own kitchen and I will share my version, which is quite similar to my Rollkuchen recipe. It is the addition of the aromatic spices (cardamom, nutmeg and cinnamon) that sets them apart.

    • 4 1/2 cups flour
    • 1 cup sugar
    • 4 teaspoons baking powder
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon each of cardamon, cinnamon, nutmeg (or use 1 1/2 teaspoons total of your favorite)
    • 2 eggs
    • 1 cup milk
    • 1 cup sour cream (or plain yogurt)
    1. Combine 4 cups flour with sugar, baking powder, salt and spices.
    2. In a separate bowl, whisk together egg, milk and sour cream. 
    3. Add liquids to flour mixture and stir to incorporate.
    4. Continue to add flour until a soft (but not sticky) dough is formed.
    5. Divide dough into two balls and chill for at least 30 minutes.
    6. Roll each piece out thin on a floured surface. Cut long strips about 2 inches wide and then cut diagonally across to for diamond-shaped pieces, using a pizza cutter or pastry wheel. Cut a small slit in the centre of each piece, and gently pull one end through the slit to make a twist in the donut. 
    7. Deep fry in hot oil until golden on one side.  Flip and fry on the other side until golden.
    8. Serve 'hot off the grill' dusted in confectioner's sugar, or leave them plain and dip in sugar while eating. 
    Someone 'near and dear' who was born in Iceland, recommended that we try Kleiner.  One of these days I'll have her sample my version and see if they pass the test.